Published on May 28th, 2020
While online dating is now a billion-dollar industry, and platforms have tightened their security checks, meeting someone for the first time still involves risks.
Data from several studies show that almost 3% of men using dating sites are psychopaths and that internet predators commit nearly 16,000 abductions per year.
There is an alarming rate of date-rape reports from people using online dating platforms, as more than 25% of rapists use dating sites to find their victims.
In a society dominated by technology and access to information, why take a risk?
The Benefits of a Background Check
Sites like CheckPeople.com allow you to gather relevant information before meeting someone for the first time.
For example, you can find out if they are known felons or if they are registered sex offenders.
It is estimated that at least 10% of dating profiles use false information, or even present themselves as someone they’re not.
So the first thing that you want to know is if the person you are about to meet is who they say they are.
Some data suggests that a lot of men using dating sites are already married, so if you want to avoid entering a cheating cycle, you want to know more about their marital status.
Are they rude when talking to other people? Do they have controversial political views that are opposite to yours? Remember that the way in which people conduct themselves online may very well be a sample of how they will treat you in the real world, so if there is anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, it is better to end the conversation.
Tips to Keep the First Conversations Safe
Even before talking about an in-person meeting, you have to protect yourself. Some ways to stay on the safe side:
- Do not disclose too much personal information during the first interactions
- Beware of anyone asking you for money
- Never give away financial information or your social security number
- Don’t discuss your daily schedule or plans for travel
- Trust your gut. Don’t answer any question that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Don’t trust someone who asks you to keep your interactions secret
The Importance of Platforms
Not all dating sites are equal. While there are a few big fish like Match.com or Tinder, there are also niche alternatives available.
Regardless of what you choose, check their privacy policies, and research how they enforce identity checks.
Try to refrain from using sites that are unclear about these two aspects, as there is evidence of some platforms selling their user’s data. Ideally, check for user reviews and go for those that make you feel safer.
An Important Video Call
Before agreeing to meet in person, ask for a video call. The first reason for this is to make sure that the profile picture you see actually matches the person who you are talking to.
Never agree to meet someone who refuses to have a video call. During the call and in all your conversations, ask any questions that are important to you.
Remember that, even an honest person will try to show you their best side during the first stages of a relationship.
Take Care of Your Elderly Relatives
Older adults who feel alone are extremely vulnerable to online scammers. Beware of signs such as important withdrawals to their bank accounts, or talking about being “in love” with someone they met online.
While there is a chance that they have a real relationship, a lot of scammers use social media messaging to get older people to agree to give them money or pay for stuff.
Know When to Stop
While a background check is a very good way to protect yourself from dangerous people, there is a thin line between gathering information and stalking.
Online stalking can also lead you to make unfair judgments. Once you get enough information to feel safe, allow yourself to meet your potential romantic partner without looking through all their social media pictures or researching all their friend’s profiles.
Online dating can be really fun, and it can even be the beginning of a meaningful and lasting relationship.
Almost 40% of couples who meet during 2017 did so through online dating sites. But in order to enjoy the experience and avoid scammers and dangerous people, you need to do your due diligence.